Pointing out that having a handgun carry permit is an awesome responsibility, local policeman and firearms instructor Stuart Whitman says he has already guided 600 people through his local class – most of those planning to apply for their handgun carry permits.
“The most frequent reason I get from folks who want to get their handgun carry permit is they want to protect themselves and their family,” Whitman said, noting he has instructed people not only from here but from as far away as Memphis. “There are over 200 certified schools in Tennessee.”
Whitman said the first step to obtaining a permit is to take a required training class.
“It is a very basic class, really geared to people who haven’t had a lot of experience with firearms,” Whitman said, noting his class covers things like safety, skills, marksmanship and laws governing the carrying of firearms. “It’s not a get-out-of-jail-free card. It is an awesome responsibility.
Whitman pointed out that while the use of deadly force is allowed if the victim is in fear of his life or of serious bodily injury, a person discharging a firearm with a carry permit is liable for any crime he or she may be committing by wrongly using the firearm.
Whitman said there are a few places firearms may not be carried. Those include, but are not limited to, courts of law and city parks. A new law, however, does allow a person to carry their gun into restaurants which serve alcohol. The person may not consume alcohol themselves while they have their gun with them. Violation of the rule carries a three-year revocation of their license.
After passing the training course, the person may then apply for a carry permit through the state. The application costs $110 and usually the applicant gets his or her license in three weeks to a month after background checks are conducted. The permit is good for four years and may be renewed for $50 after four years.
The permit, Whitman said, allows the person to carry any handgun either concealed or in plain view. Whitman said he strongly recommends those with permits conceal their firearms when they are carried.
Whitman may be reached by calling 607-2313. His class costs $60 and is an eight-hour course.